Lacuna Coil

Review: Lacuna Coil/Eluveitie – Glasgow

Lacuna Coil are bucking the current trend where bands are dropping the heavier vibe in order to reach new audiences, instead, the Italian metal legends are going in the opposite direction and turning the “heavy” way up. Current album, ‘Black Anima’, continues in the heavier vein that began with ‘Delirium’ in 2016, an album which proved to be a real revelation. Andrea Ferro has gradually brought back death vocals to his performance, and alongside the ever-powerful clean vocals of Cristina Scabbia, Lacuna Coil seem re-invigorated as the music evolves with each new album. It would seem that the paying public agrees as each date on this short UK and Ireland tour is sold-out.

Infected Rain, Lacuna CoilThe job of kicking off the evening at the un-rock ‘n’ roll time of 18.20 fell to Moldovan metallers Infected Rain. Fronted by the charismatic Lena Scissorhands (the growls of Angela Gossow combined with the fragility of Bjork), Infected Rain play modern metal, modern in the sense that each song features multiple changes and very rarely ends the same way that it began.

The band makes full use of the stage, with Scissorhands and guitarist Vidick being nothing more than blurs as they send their step counts into stratospheric amounts during their lively 30 minute set. Current album ‘Endorphin’ is a beast of an album, and features heavily in the set. ‘The Earth Mantra’ takes on extra wings in the live setting and the trance-like midsection is even more powerful, with a full PA raising Lena’s “We are parasites” refrain to the rafters. ‘Passerby’ is another highlight, as is the full-pelt ferocity of ‘Lure’ which provides a short, sharp shock to the system in an early Slipknot style. For a band making their UK debuts on this tour, Infected Rain leave the stage with many new fans converted to the cause. Special mention to Lacuna Coil guitarist Diego Cavallotti who stepped in to help out on the first few songs as Infected Rain guitarist Sergey Babich couldn’t make the tour.

Special guests on the UK leg of the tour are Eluveitie, another band who seem to be returning to their heavier past. Eighth studio album ‘Ategnatos’ was released in April and felt like a return to their roots. Live? No question about it, this is a band that are getting heavier, and better, with each passing moment.

Eluveitie, Lacuna CoilAn Eluveitie gig is more than just a gig, it’s an experience that leaves the crowd grinning from ear to ear as they fully take on board what they are witnessing. Tonight they are witnessing nine (count them) incredible musicians blending the old, the traditional, and the modern to make “Pure F***ing Folk Metal”. And let’s be honest here, opening with the title track to ‘Ategnatos’, which features a Scottish voice-over, was always going to get the blood stirring in Glasgow!

The band jump from the most recent studio album back to 2014 for ‘King’, lifted from the ‘Origins’ album. Watching Fabienne Erni on the harp, lined up alongside violinist Nicole Ansperger and Michalina Malisz on the hurdy gurdy, all windmilling in unison, is a stunning sight. Matteo Sisti is over to the far side of the stage, tin whistle in hand, bringing a jig or two to the party. The grand master himself Chrigel Glanzmann is front and centre with a multitude of instruments strapped to his custom mic stand, surveying the madness all around him. If you ever caught The Levellers back in their prime, and woke up with sore calves and a thumping head, then amplify that a thousand-fold and you might be close to what an Eluviete gig feels like. The playing is at times staggering, especially when Sisti breaks out the bagpipes for ‘Inis Mona’, but when Fabienne Erni takes her solo vocal spot (on ‘Artio’) there was magic in the air! After a few recent bumps in the road, Eluveitie are proving night after night that they are still a force to be reckoned with.

Opening with the crushing ‘Blood, Tears, Dust’ was a real statement of intent from Lacuna Coil. Tonight was going to be heavy, and it was not merely going to be a nostalgia trip, it was also going to be about the new material. So much so that during the first thirty or so minutes, the only dip into the bulging sack of classic earlier material was for ‘Our Truth’ from 2006’s ‘Karmacode’ and ‘Trip The Darkness’ from 2012’s ‘Dark Adrenaline’.

Lacuna CoilThe twenty minute salvo of ‘Layers Of Time’, ‘My Demons’, ‘Downfall’ and ‘Reckless’ is as powerful a segment as you are likely to hear at any gig today, and it’s all new material from the last few years. The aforementioned albums – ‘Black Anima’ and ‘Delirium’, were stellar examples of a band not content with going through the motions. Rather than simply writing ‘Comalies 2’, Lacuna Coil pulled two intense albums out of the hat, and the material sounds amazing in the live environment. ‘Reckless’ and ‘Layers Of Time’ (both from ‘Black Anima’) are the perfect examples of Ferro’s growls blending seamlessly with Scabbia’s clean vocals. Ferro prowls the darkness with his custom Lacuna Coil hoodie pulled up, the lights illuminating him as he spits the lyrics out …”Forever hurt and broken, I swear I’ll get out alive, Burning the bridges built behind, My life’s reloading every night..”. It all makes for great art, propelled along by Marco Coti-Zelati’s throbbing bass, the towering drum work of Richard Meiz and the crunching riffs from Diego Cavallotti.

As the set powers into the closing stages, the heavy hitters are brought out. Leading the band into the encore is perhaps THE ultimate cover version, ‘Enjoy The Silence’, and no matter how many times you hear it, it gets better with each listen. After a brief period offstage, the sleigh bells start up and the intro to ‘Naughty Christmas’ kicks in. Scabbia and Ferro appear with Santa hats on and the perfect soundtrack to ‘Krampus’ ensues. From here it’s into ‘Comalies’ for pulsating versions of ‘Heaven’s A Lie’ and ‘Swamped’, before ending on the call-to-arms of ‘Nothing Stands In Our Way’.

It’s quite rare that a band gets heavier as time goes on, but Lacuna Coil are one such exception. With the quality of the last two studio albums, and the intensity of these live shows, nothing stands in their way……sorry, that door was open and I had to go through it.

All current live dates can be found here.

 

 

 

 

 

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